Helping Seniors Overcome the Winter Blues
When the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, many of us experience the “winter blues” marked by decreased energy and depressed moods. It is so common, in fact, that it even has a medical term - Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD, for short).
Despite common perception, SAD is a type of depression that can cause the same toll as other types that may be experienced year-round. Seasonal Affective Disorder impacts people of all ages, races and genders but can be especially detrimental to senior citizens. Luckily, there are a number of things that can be done to combat this disorder and lift the spirits of your loved one. Here are our top tips:
- Brighten Up Their Space
Not only are the days shorter, but the weather often means that even during daytime hours the sun is out less often, too. Make sure that loved ones keep things bright by turning on lights in their space. In addition, adding bright and colorful art, decorations or other enhancements to the space can bring a much-needed pop of color.
- Get Vitamin D When Possible
It’s no secret, sunlight plays a critical part in our well-being. Studies show that spending time outdoors can significantly increase our mood and the impacts are multiplied when engaging in light to moderate physical activity.
Even though sunlight is limited during this time of year, it’s important to soak up the sunshine when it’s available. Encourage the senior in your life to take a brisk walk outdoors when the weather is favorable.
- Stay Active
While it’s great to get outside for a walk, the reality is that this time of year often comes with bad weather, cold wind and snow but it is still important to remain active. Many gyms have group activities specifically for senior-citizens to keep them active and social with a low-impact activity. We recommend checking out water aerobics classes for a fun way to get the blood pumping!
- Make Exciting Plans
Being at home alone during this time of year can be extremely difficult unless you have something to look forward to. Often the cold weather causes retirees to hibernate which can lead to social detachment. Keep things positive by planning fun activities throughout the winter and mark them on a calendar so your loved one can easily keep track of what you have planned.